Liver Biopsy

This coming November 19, my husband is scheduled to undergo a Liver Biopsy.  At first I was the one eager for him to have it before starting the treatment for Hepatitis C-genotype 3.  My main concern was to know exactly the medical status of his liver as supported with medical test and to know where we are at in this condition but when I became technically aware about the procedure and how will it be done, hesitation arose on my part.

Joshua already had his first liver biopsy year 2009 and the result was amazing.  He had a healthy liver.  The recent record of blood test he had showed that the amount of Hepatitis C virus he had in the blood increases by which his doctor made his suggestion for him to start the treatment the soonest in which I was not fully satisfied.  But the result of the latest blood sample taken for him is not yet released.

All the while I thought liver biopsy was just a simple procedure wherein patient’s body will just pass through a medical scanning apparatus and then diagnosis will come out  (I don’t know where did I get this idea).  I was thoroughly enlightened when after Joshua’s semi-annual appointment with Trans South Digestive Disease Clinic in Jackson, we were  handed with two pieces of papers printed the explanation of the procedure and preparation to do.

What is a liver biopsy? 

According to hepac.liverfoundation.org, liver biopsy is a medical procedure used to remove a very small piece of liver tissue that is studied in the lab to determine the liver condition.

Its an out-patient procedure in which a small medical biopsy needle is being inserted into the liver to obtain the tissue sample. Understanding the whole procedure and all the needed preparations is an advancement for the patient and of course with the family.  

The attending Physician may obtain a liver biopsy to determine the cause of liver disease, its current condition and the extent of the damage.  In the case of my husband, only the virus in his blood increased but the blood sample showed that his liver is doing fine.  In starting a treatment, it’s very important to learn about it and the disease.

Understanding the liver

The liver is located in the upper right abdomen just under the diaphragm.  It lies almost entirely within the rib cage which provide some protection to the organ.

Haltom Family_Liver

Source: Relay Health & or its affiliates.

The liver is critical for digestion and metabolism.  Its vital functions are:

  • producing bile which is necessary for fat absorption
  • producing proteins from Amino Acids, 
  • packaging fats for storage or transportation in the blood, 
  • regulating blood sugar levels, and 
  • processing substances such as alcohol and drugs. (Source: Nucleus Medical Media)

 

Preparation for Liver Biopsy

  • You must bring a driver, if you do not have a driver, your procedure will not be done. Inform them they will need to stay with you until you are discharged.
  • Eating or drinking is prohibited the midnight of the day of your liver biopsy schedule.
  • If taking medicines for the heart, blood pressure, seizure, anti-psychotic, or anxiety medication are needed, just have enough water to swallow it. 
  • Stop aspirin, ibuprofen and arthritis medications 3 days prior to the procedure.
  • Stop blood thinner for 5 days prior to the procedure.
  • Bring all medications or current list of medications to procedure with you.
  • If diabetic check your blood sugar prior to coming to procedure.
  • Discuss your feelings with your family and let them be part of it. 

I asked my husband about his feelings towards the liver biopsy procedure, he said it looks like it is more serious or it seems so in the video animation than when he had it years ago.  The only thing he vividly recalls is after he had the anesthesia, he had a crazy talk and didn’t the pain.  The procedure will take only 5 minutes including the incision and extraction.  After the procedure the patient must stay inside the recovery room for a matter of 4 hours but it depends upon the call of the doctor if the patient needs to undergo further observation.   For detailed information of the procedure, please see the video animation below courtesy of Nucleus Medical Media.

Even liver biopsy is considered to be an out-patient and simple procedure we need not to be lax.  In times like these, my full support is needed by my husband as well as our prayers with one another.  I honestly don’t like the fact that something is being put inside Joshua’s body but its part of the protocol that we need to have.

My prayer is both of us will be strengthened and not be afraid, that his liver will be found to be healthy, by faith he will be healed and the doctor and his crew will do it with care.  I know God is with us and our savior Jesus Christ knows what he is undergoing because himself was bruised and nailed on the cross.

Isaiah 63:9 (KJV)
In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence
saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare
them, and carried them all the days of old.

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